Tour from bustling Budapest to Turkey’s picturesque capital, Istanbul

Be mesmerised by the magic of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey on this explorer tour through the best and most beautiful regions of Eastern Europe. Explore the captivating capitals of Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia and Istanbul. Sample culinary delights with local folk in Viscri, be inspired by the traditional craft workshops in Plovdiv, hear enthralling myths from Transylvania and visit the quaint town of Bansko, snug at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. This is a journey full of culture and history, of mosques and monuments, markets and museums, tantalising towns and charming cities.

Budapest, Hungary
Istanbul, Turkey
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12
Carbon offset
242kg pp per trip


  • Explore the grand boulevards of Budapest
  • Hear haunting myths and enchanting tales in medieval Sighisoara
  • Dine with a local family in Viscri
  • Enjoy the nightlife in Sofia
  • Visit the mountain village of Gorno Draglishte
  • Go market mad in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2017

Get the adventure underway in Budapest and be greeted by elegant architecture and a bubbly nightlife.
Investigate Eger Castle in the lovely Baroque town of the same name. Sample excellent local drops at a wine tasting and perhaps have a singalong with local folk musicians.
Call into the attractive city of Debrecen before hopping across the border into Romania. Gain a firsthand experience of peasant culture in provincial Maramures.
Be spooked by the bloodcurdling myths that surround Transylvania, perhaps enjoying a meal at Casa Dracula or venturing up to the clock tower.
Arrive in Viscri and learn about the Sock Project, a warming initiative which supports the local community. Dine with a local family and try to pick up a few tidbits of the Romanian language.
Head to medieval Brasov, a town flanked by mountains and city walls that boast a collection of ornate buildings including the impressive 14th-century Biserica Neagra.
Travel on to Bucharest, where a guided tour visits the expansive Piata Unirii Square and prodigious 12-storey Palace of Parliament, supposedly the largest civilian administrative building in the world.
Walk along tree-lined boulevards in the city of Sofia and see the Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church. At night, why not dive into the happening nightlife.
Journey into the Rila Mountains and explore the most important of Bulgaria’s orthodox monasteries. Join a family as their guests overnight, sample classic Bulgarian cuisine and perhaps get a lesson in traditional weaving.
Unwind in charming mehanes (stone taverns) in Bansko and feast on local dishes like filet elena or kapama. In spare time, perhaps visit the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary.
Travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city. Become familiarised with the locale on a guided orientation walk that takes in the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre and the hilltop fortress of Nebet Tepe. In free time, why not check out the underground crypt at Bachkovo Monastery or visit some traditional craft workshops.
Cross the border into Turkey and drive the remaining distance to Istanbul. With a population of 14 million inhabitants and nearly 3,000 mosques, no amount of time here is ever enough to come to terms with this mesmerising ancient capital. Our journey ends on the morning of our second day here, so it's well worth staying on for a few extra days if time allows.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


11 breakfasts4 dinners
Bus, Metro, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Train, Tram
Guesthouse (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (11 nights), Pension (3 nights)
Included activities
  • Eger - Wine Tasting
  • Maramures - Guided tour
  • Plovdiv - Guided tour


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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our Eastern Europe Explorer trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 13 reviews in the last year.

Eastern Europe Explorer , September 2015

Eastern Europe Explorer , September 2015